The dictionary describes an empath as “a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual”.
An empath is someone who is very sensitive to the emotional and physical needs and hurts of the people around them. We don’t know a ton about empaths in general, but they think that empaths probably have hyper-responsive mirror neurons (the group of brain cells responsible for triggering feelings like compassion). Uh, yes, I had to look that up. XD
I am an empath. The day that I realized it, I tried to deny it and wish it away. Just like I did for months afterward. It made me feel weak, helpless and sensitive – all things that I wanted to avoid. I felt like I had to be tough because tough people survive and sensitive ones get left behind and abandoned. I was ashamed of who I was.
In this day and age, you’re looked down upon if you’re “too sensitive”. Being invincible, self-sustaining and strong is displayed as the highest qualities a human can have. But take heart, people like me. 😉 We have a gift that is bigger than brute strength, I believe. We are able to reach the hearts of people in their pain and be with them there, without having to fix it. That’s very much in part because of our “sensitivity”. Despite what we’re told, it’s a blessing, not a curse.
As an empath, I care so deeply about people – even strangers – that I can literally feel their mental, emotional and sometimes physical pain in my own body. In a way, I take it on and it becomes mine. That’s why I can’t become a therapist. I actually considered it, but realized that it would be so overwhelming. I could do like maybe one client at a time but that’s it.
I don’t like crowds for multiple reasons. One, I feel totally out of place because, uh, I’m terribly different than the rest of humanity. Unfortunately. (At least it feels like that a lot of the time). But another reason is because when there are lots of people around, I can feel so much of their pain. I know that almost everyone is dealing with something or another. There I am, in the midst of it all, completely and totally unable to help anyone. It’s overwhelming. I don’t know how many times I’ve sat in crowds and wished I could have made a difference in the lives of everyone who was walking past me.
Things that happen across the world (take the coronavirus when it was just starting out as an example or natural disasters, etc.) can effect empaths more than “normal” people. It’s like… even though you’re not there and you haven’t been physically hurt by the event, you grieve for the people that it has effected and your heart hurts for the pain that they have experienced. It’s crazy.
One of the most helpful pieces of advice that I received was that I need to learn how to separate my emotions from the emotions of everyone else. If I’m overwhelmed or depressed or whatever, I have to ask myself, “Is this my emotion or am I taking on the pain of someone else?” I can’t do anything beyond that at the moment, but it is helpful to identify.
I’ve hesitated to write this post for a long time because I’m afraid of coming across as easily overwhelmed and “sensitive”. I don’t want you all to stop sharing your hearts with me because you want to “protect” me from your pain. (It’s not going to work. XD) Honestly, the greatest gift that you can give me is if you are honest and real with me – whether that’s in joy or pain.
Empathic people have incredible gifts. It’s taken me over a year to be able to admit that (it’s hard accepting and believing that yes, God has given me gifts and I shouldn’t just throw those away). Some of those gifts include….
People often come to you for advice and encouragement because you understand. You’re a good listener, you’re caring and you are incredibly helpful.
The world is deep
You see the world in deeper ways than the average person. Everything – the beauty, the tragedy, the very life – is profound and beautiful. You’re likely creative and have a lot of depth to put into that.
You are a master body language reader
Man, only recently have I realized that for all of my life I’ve been pretty good at reading body language. Empaths can pick up on subtle changes in expression, tones, looks and non-verbal clues. You’re good at identifying mood-changes based off of tiny hints that most people miss.
You are a healer
God can use your gifts to bring comfort and healing to people in incredibly difficult times. His hand works through you. I find that really cool and amazing.
You want to help
You see a person in pain and you cannot ignore it. You desperately want to help in some way. This is both a blessing and a curse. We live in a fallen world and because of that, there is pain all around us. It can be so overwhelming sometimes.
The world needs you
You’re generous, self-giving, caring and nurturing. You love deeply. You reach out to those who are hurt. You are compassionate. The world needs you, Empaths. God’s gifted you in ways that will change this big place that we call Earth.
You’re enough. Let that sink in for a moment. You can’t fix the world. That’s not your job alone. You will never be able to help every single person (ouch). But you make a huge difference in the lives of the people around you and they are better because of you.
*realizes that it’s so easy to say all of that stuff to other people and not believe a word of it about myself*
Anyway, this ended up longer than I was expecting and it’s kind of a rambly, scattered post. XD I hope it encouraged somebody out there, though. 😉
Until next time,